The players of the Miami Marlins celebrate their 7-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 30, 2023. /CFP
The Miami Marlins defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-3 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on Saturday to secure their 84th win of the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) regular season and a National League (NL) Wild Card Game berth.
The Marlins will appear in the postseason for the fourth time in franchise history. The last time they were there was in the shortened 60-game season campaign in 2020. Before that, the team advanced to the playoffs in two full seasons in 2003 and 1997. They won the World Series on both occasions.
When the 2023 season began in September, the Marlins were only 67-67, definitely not the favorite in the wild card race. However, the team won 17 of their next six games, surpassing the San Francisco Giants, the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds to qualify for the wild card game.
"I feel like we're just the biggest family in the league," Jazz Chisholm Jr. of the Marlins said. "I feel like nobody is as connected as us as a team. I feel like when someone gets going, everybody gets going. That's the plan here, and we're just family, and we're coming in together."
A.J. Puk of the Miami Marlins pitches during the fourth inning in the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, September 30, 2023. /CFP
Chisholm Jr. hit his 19th homer of the season in Saturday's game. The team might not have won without that play or the two-run double by Josh Bell.
"Before the game, we called it 'Clinch Day,' and we weren't expecting any other day to be Clinch Day except today," Chisholm Jr. said. "And that's what we did, and we handled it today."
The Marlins' combined salary for the 2023 season is only $101.3 million, which ranks in the 22nd place of all 30 teams, but they will play in the postseason. By contrast, the top-three spenders of the season, the New York Mets, the New York Yankees and the San Diego Padres, will all watch the playoffs from home.
"We've been living for six years with 'Let's go Mets' in our stadium all the time," Bruce Sherman, owner of the Marlins, said. "Mets didn't finish. Yankees didn't finish. San Diego didn't finish. Payrolls three times ours, and look what we did."